N.H. City Pays Woman $57,500 In Dispute Over Videotaping Police Officer


Weare, N.H., settled a lawsuit for $57,500 with a woman arrested for videotaping a police officer, adding to the growing list of settlements stemming from police officers' restriction of video and audio recordings in public places, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston had upheld a lower court opinion that Carla Gericke was within her First Amendment rights to record a police officer at a traffic stop. Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, and Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union's project on Speech, Privacy and Technology, said their organizations have been involed in several cases that ended in settlements.

“It's a situation where the law and the constitution are very clear, and yet many police officers seem not to be getting the message,” Stanley said. Boston paid attorney Simon Glik $170,000 after he was arrested for recording police officers make an arrest at a public city park. Other courts have reached similar conclusions. After the settlement of a case in Baltimore, the city’s police department issued a new set of guidelines, informing officers that they must respect those recording police activity as long as the recorder “has a legal right to be present and does not interfere with a [police] member's safety.”

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